Would you ever eat a piece of fruit or a vegetable that was 70 days old? For most of us, that’s a hard pass. But what if I told you there was an all-natural way to extend the life of our produce?
According to the FAO, one-third (approximately 1.3 billion tonnes) of the food produced for human consumption goes to waste every year. That amounts to about US$ 680 billion in losses. Meanwhile, people are starving.
Of course, food naturally spoils if it isn’t eaten. Fruits and veggies rot when they dehydrate; as the moisture dissipates, they absorb more oxygen.
Apeel Sciences is all about reducing food waste. The company strives to extend the shelf-life of fruits and vegetables without the use of any chemicals. It has developed a special protective coating to slow the natural rotting process.
How Does It Work?
In a CNN Business Report, Apeel CEO James Rogers explains how the protective coating creates an optimized microclimate inside the piece of fruit or vegetable that remains strong throughout the entire supply chain.
That means moisture, taste, and nutrition are locked in, and oxygen is kept out.
The coating is an oil rich in fat lipids extracted from the skins, seeds, and pulp of fruits and veggies (the parts that aren’t always used). The oil is eventually transformed into a colorless, odorless, tasteless powder. Water is added to the powder, and then the produce is dipped into the solution.
The FDA approves the Apeel coating as an all-natural product, meaning it’s 100% safe for us to eat. If it’s used to prolong the life of an organic apple, for example, the apple is still organic after application, free of any chemical preservatives.
See The Difference
The results are something to see, alright.
After 70 days, CNN shows how a lemon treated with Apeel looks as fresh as the day it was picked. The untreated lemon is, of course, dried up and covered in mold.
Apeel says it’s been able to double and even triple the shelf-life of foods like avocadoes and other citrus fruits. Caviar limes, a form of micro citrus, typically last only five to seven days before going bad. With the Apeel technology, the limes are maintaining peak taste, nutrition, and freshness for 21 days.
The Apeel coating is changing the way things are done in agriculture. Farmers can harvest their crops closer to when they are fully ripe. That means tastier and more nutritious foods make it to our plates.
The company is also looking to help developing countries such as Kenya and Nigeria, where up to 80% of food produced can be wasted due to a lack of refrigeration. It has people on the ground there who are spreading the word and distributing the product in little packets.
Perhaps you’ve already bitten into an Apeel-protected pear or pepper; produce with the special coating is already being sold in more than 200 American stores, including Costco.
Already backed by Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, the unique Apeel technology has raised more than $100 million in financing since its inception in 2012. Everybody wants a piece of fresh fruit!
As the company gains steam, scientists are busy working in its labs with the hope of boosting produce shelf-life by up to four times!
It’s amazing what can happen when technology and nature come together.